Ann Mortimer is a new Clarke kindergarten teacher. She graduated from Northern Illinois University and this is her 13th year of teaching.
“I love the joy teaching brings to me, the kids and their families. Making connections with the families and watching the kids have their ‘ah-ha’ moments are truly wonderful things,” said Mortimer.
Mortimer found Clarke after moving from Arizona to Iowa in May. After applying for a position at Clarke she was very excited to receive a call for an interview and then an acceptance into the position.
“I am loving the smallness of the town, and the support shown by the community. It’s this type of pride in the schools and the community that made me want to return to the Midwest. I am excited to watch my little kindergarteners blossom into curious, confident, happy, learners,” said Mortimer.
Kara Campfield is a new Clarke kindergarten teacher. She graduated from Simpson College and this is her first year teaching full time.
“I grew up knowing I wanted to help people. It wasn’t until I took a class in high school that got me involved with the ages of 3-5 that I knew I wanted to help kids. I specialized in early childhood because I knew I wanted to help the younger generation,” said Campfield.
Campfield is a Clarke graduate of 2015. Having family and friends in Osceola and other friends already teaching at Clarke drew her back to the district after her college graduation.
“I am most excited about working with my kindergarten team. I have the most uplifting and kind team to be working with and I cannot wait to continue working with them this year,” said Campfield.
Shai Major is Clarke’s new kindergarten-second grade behavior disorder teacher. She graduated from Graceland University and this is her first year teaching.
“I had an educator who changed children’s lives every day and made it her mission to help them grow. Since then I have wanted to make a difference in children’s lives. I want to see all children succeed,” said Major.
Major was interested in coming to Clarke because of the welcoming atmosphere where she saw everyone caring for their children’s wellbeing.
“I am most excited for the students to teach me how to increase my knowledge on how to regulate their emotions individually,” said Major.
Hallie Jensen is Clarke’s new fifth grade teacher. She graduated from Iowa State University and this is her first year teaching.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with people, especially kids. I knew that I wanted to be close to the Des Moines area, but I also wanted to work in a smaller school,” said Jensen.
She enjoys how welcoming Osceola has been and how well she fits at Clarke.
“I am really excited to get to form relationships with my students and to see their growth both academically and socially this year,” said Jensen.
Christopher Dyer is Clarke’s new Life Sciences teacher. He graduated from Penn State and this is his 15th year teaching.
“What made me want to be a teacher was my dad being a high school teacher and administrator,” said Dyer.
High school principal Shane Stephens was a big reason for Dyer to come to Clarke.
“What I’m most excited about is working with a new group of kids,” said Dyer.
Mandi Etter is Clarke’s new high school special eduction teacher. She graduated from the University of Northern Iowa with her bachelor degree and the University of Phoenix with her Master’s degree and this is her fifth year of teaching.
“I pursued teaching to make a difference in students’ lives. I want to be that person who believes in students and pushes them to do better and be better. I want to give them the tools they need to believe in themselves and persevere through all obstacles,” said Etter.
Etter enjoys working at Clarke because the community has been warm and welcoming.
“I am excited about working with students and building collaborative relationships with the staff at Clarke,” said Etter.
Cassidy Chapman is Clarke’s new third and fifth grade special education. She earned graduated from Doane University in Crete, Nebraska and this will be her third year teaching.
“I became a teacher because I always found myself wanting to work with children and I was always the person someone called in my hometown to babysit their kids,” said Chapman.
Chapman cam to Clarke because she and her fiance wanted to move closer to their families in Milo. When asking where she should look for teaching jobs in the area everyone suggested Clarke.
“This year I am excited to be in an elementary school. I am excited to work with the kids and get to know all of them. My colleagues all are super supportive and caring. I am so excited to work with a supportive and helpful staff as well,” said Chapman.
Libby Hainer is Clarke’s new second grade teacher. She graduated from Minnesota State Mankato and Graceland University and this is her third year teaching.
“I love helping children learn and grow. Seeing the looks on their faces when they finally understand something lights up my world,” said Hainer.
Hainer is happy to be back in her hometown.
“I am most excited about working with my new team. We are a group of young teachers who are bringing many new ideas as well as so much excitement. I am also just excited to be back where I grew up and what I called home my entire life,” said Hainer.
Claire Bennett is Clarke’s new first grade teacher. She graduated from Simpson College and this is her first year teaching.
“I had a very influential teacher in middle school. She was the first person who told me I had the gift of teaching and helping others,” said Bennett.
Bennett chose Clarke because of the family atmosphere and support that she saw there.
“I am most excited about learning and growing as a teacher,” said Bennett.
Sam Zager teaches English II for Clarke’s 10th graders as well as Sports Literature and Comic Book/Graphic Novels for Clarke’s juniors and seniors. He earned his Bachelor degree from the University of Iowa and his Master’s from Drake University and this is first year of full time teaching.
“My mother, a retired teacher, has been a joint inspiration for me becoming a teacher along with my third grade teacher Mr. Glasgow. I thought he was the coolest guy in the world because he was into sports and was a male, which I had never seen as a teacher before,” said Zager.
Zager likes the family atmosphere at Clarke. He has felt very supported and at home. Growing up in a small town with a similar environment, Zager is happy to be a place like Clarke.
“I am most excited to coach (Girls 9th/JV Head Basketball) and make new relationships with teachers and students,” said Zager.
Jarrett Belden is Clarke’s new eighth grade science teacher. He earned his Bachelor degree from Southern Illinois University and his Masters’ at Dordt University and this is his eighth year teaching.
“I love working with middle school aged kids, they are so much fun and can be a challenge,” said Belden.
Belden came to Clarke because his daughter had graduated from Clarke in 2018 and had missed working with middle school students.
“I’m excited to get to know the students and staff and for all of the new experiences I get to have,” said Belden.